One of the most widely known principles in economics is that of Supply and Demand. Just as in real world economies, this principle is one of those at the core of the EVE economy. Without the markets of New Eden upon which supply and demand are necessities, the game would be far less remarkable. Caught up in the economic realities are the pilots themselves. In this case I refer specifically to the veteran players of EVE. These veterans form a power bloc with extensive purchasing and production power.
The Veteran Bloc
There are many ways to define a veteran EVE player. For our purposes we will classify them as having characters over a year old, as well as frequent and consistent in their gameplay. While a far-reaching definition, it is necessary to encompass the wide variety of playstyles which attributed to these players. Widely broken down, we can divide these veterans into the Combat Pilot, Industrialist, Marketer, Miner, and Generalist. Each of these divisions has its own contributions to the economy of New Eden.
Inherently however, veterans in each of these categories retain a much higher economic impact than a more casual or newer player (with some exceptions). A more experienced and active Industrialist veteran for example would have a greater range and capacity to supply goods to the New Eden economy. A Combat Pilot veteran has access to pilot larger or more complexly built ships, and with the chance of losing their ship provides further potential for demand. Generalist players reach into multiple areas of supply and demand in both PvP and PvE contexts.
Veteran Retention and the Economy
Overall, veteran player retention may not be widely considered to have extensive repercussions on the economy. However, with the strong economic position the veteran bloc represents, their continues existence is critical to the New Eden economy. Veteran players in many ways serve as the “adults” of the economy while newer players tend to fill the role of “children.” Newer players do contribute to the continuation of the economy, though in a more limited manner. Therefore, similarly to adults in the real world, veterans provide more extensive economic force. In a sense veterans have the equivalent of adult spending power within the game.
It is therefore critical to retain a large portion of veteran players to help maintain the economy of New Eden. Countries in the real world depend on adults to maintain their economies. Shrinking adult populations have major consequences for developed countries, just as shrinking veteran populations can do so in New Eden. Some real world consequences of shrinking adult populations include the reduction in services, reduction in aid programs, and deflation. We could experience the same consequences in the universe of New Eden with a large enough exodus of veteran players.
With fewer veterans pilots, there would theoretically be fewer sales and purchases across trade hubs and ever slower velocity of ISK as a consequence. Aid programs such as the nullsec powerbloc SRP programs could fall by the wayside as it becomes more difficult to sustain the income levels needed to continue with such programs. Deflation of prices across New Eden markets could also be a consequence. While initially welcomed, such prices could also represent the slower velocity of ISK through the economy as prices lower in an attempt to counteract the lack of sales on the part of remaining players. While speculative on the specifics, the loss of too many veterans would cause major economic upheaval in New Eden. It would be in the game’s best interest to ensure these players continue to play our EVE Online.